Saturday, February 21, 2015

Last Ten Films We've Seen: The Other Interview

Greetings to our beloved blog readers in Slovakia, Cyprus and well as those of you in Lewisburg, West Virginia, where we gather there is about 15 inches of snow!

We are posting this list just one day before the Oscars are revealed. In the United States, the Oscars are broadcast on ABC stations, such as WTVD-11 in Raleigh, NC, and KTVX-4 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

We originally got this idea from "Film Comment." There is a Dutch connection here as one of the films "Waiter" (pict. top) is from the Netherlands, and another one "Interview," which is not the headline-making film with Seth Rogen and James Franco, but rather a small indy film starring and directed by Steve Buscemi (pict. bottom) that is a remake of a Dutch film made by the late Theo van Gogh who was murdered by a fanatical man of North African heritage in Amsterdam.

We are also using the Japanese flag (pict. center) ironically as the three hour epic docudrama "United Red Army" is actually about a terrorist group made up of far-left college students in Japan during the early 1970s; amazingly enough, they are most known for a terrorist incident in Israel!

Here is our list:

1) Interview. 2007. dir:Steve Buscemi.

2) Kill Your Darlings. 2013. dir:John Krokidas

3) The Impossible. 2012. dir: J.A. Bayana

4) The Past. Iran/France. Aghar Farhadi

5) United Red Army. Japan. 2007. dir: Koji Wakamatsu.

6) Two Days, One Night. France. Belgium/France. 2014 dirs: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

7) Waiter. Netherlands. 2006 dir:Alex van Warmerdam.

8) The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith. Australia. 1978.  dir: Fred Schepsi

9) Lacombe, Lucien. France. 1977. dir: Louis Malle

10) The Arrangement. 1969. dir: Elia Kazan w/Faye Dunaway and Kirk Douglas

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Top Ten Saturday Night Live Cast Members (according to "Rolling Stone"): Norm Macdonald is a bit miffed.....

Greetings to our blog readers in Finland, Romania and the Bahamas.........

Tonight, we list the top cast members of "Saturday Night Live" as listed by Rob Sheffield of "Rolling Stone," that was written in conjunction with the sketch comedy show's 40th anniversary. The show actually first aired in October of 1975, but (perhaps for the sake of ratings) the event was celebrated by NBC on Sunday.

Norm Macdonald, a former cast member from 1993-98 who also hosted  the show's standard 'Weekend Update' segment, tweeted live during the event. It has also been reported that he was displeased to learn that Sheffield had ranked him as number #135 in a list of 141 cast members (Robert Downey, Jr., surprisingly finished last). Tim Meadows, who came in 48th, made the list known during a cameo of the 40th anniversary special.

For better or for worse, here in Sheffield's top ten:

1) John Belushi, 1975-79. (pict. top; he died in 1982)

2) Eddie Murphy 1980-84. (pict. center)

3) Tina Fey  2000-06 (pict. bottom)

4) Mike Myers (1989-95)

5) Dan Aykroyd (1975-79)

6) Bill Murray (1977-80)

7) Phil Hartman (1986-94, was murdered in 1998)

8) Amy Poehler (2001-08)

9) Gilda Radner (1975-80, she died in 1989 from cancer)

10) Chevy Chase (1975-77)

Here are some other cast members and how they ranked according to Sheffield:

Maya Rudolph (#19)

Fred Armisen (#23)

Dennis Miller (#34)

Jane Curtin (#37, we would rank her higher)

Joe Piscopo (#66, we would rank him much higher)

For the full list, check out Sheffield's article in the current issue of "Rolling Stone," it's one that has John Belushi as the Samurai warrior who was inspired by the late Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune ("Rashomon").

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Last Ten Songs on Simon-FM (Greensboro, NC): Two Swedish Songs!

Greetings to our blog readers in Colombia, Japan and Hungary.....

Welcome to another addition of this wacky blog.

Today, we focus on the last ten songs we heard on 98.7-Simon FM (Greensboro, NC), which can now be heard all over the globe thanks to streaming but we imagine less than one percent of the station's listenership comes from Bergen, Norway!

Speaking of nations from Scandinavia, two songs which almost came up consecutively were from Swedish bands (sorry, not Roxette!), which makes us wonder if the computer which designates which songs to play is aware that the radio station played two songs from Swedish pop bands with Eric Clapton (pict. center) in between.

Here are the last ten songs from the 4:00-5:00 p.m. hour on Mon., Feb. 16th, 2015:

1) Some Like It Hot. Power Station. 1985. (The song was actually released on March 4, 1985, my 15th birthday!)

2) Smooth Criminal. Michael Jackson. 1988.

3) Sweet Emotion. Aerosmith. 1975 (we can't stand this band, actually)

4) The Sign. Ace of Base (pict. top, one of the Swedish bands)

5) Cocaine. Eric Clapton. 1977 (we learned while researching this, that J.J Cale of Velvet Underground originally performed this song)

6) Take a Chance on Me. Abba. 1978 (the other Swedish band)

7) Under the Bridge. Red Hot Chili Peppers. 1992.

8) Respect. Aretha Franklin. 1965 (pict. bottom)

9) Talking in Your Sleep. The Romantics. 1983

10) When I See You Smile. Bad English (w/John Waite) 1989.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Last Ten Songs We've Heard on Steve-FM (Columbia, SC): So That's What Bruno Mars Sounds Like.....

Greetings to our blog readers in Germany, India and Peru......

Yesterday, we actually had a hit from the Afican nation of Malawi!

We also want to send a special morning greeting to those of you checking us out from San Diego, Calif., where is now 8: 48 a.m. (does anyone actually work in southern Cali?)

Normally, we looked at the last ten songs played on Steve-FM in Roanoke, Va., but as it turns out there is also a Stev-FM in Columbia, SC! They are both owned by the national communications conglomerate I Heart Radio, but they do not play the same songs at the same time (Javier the Intern verified this for us!).........

Today also happens to be World Radio Day.........

One of the songs which grabbed our attention in this playlist was "Black Velvet" by Canadian Alannah Myles, a smash hit back in 1989! We haven't heard it much in recent years. Myles never had another major hit here in the United States, but she still apparently maintains a loyal following up north.

Another import "Listen to Your Heart" from Roxette, a Swedish musical group, made the playlist, but no songs form Turkish pop star Tarkan, who once tried to record songs in English!

As the title of our entry suggests, we aren't exactly sure what Bruno Mars songs sound like, but we are trying to get hip to it.....

Here are ten songs (in reverse order) we heard from 3:00-4:00 p.m. on Steve-FM in Columbia, SC, on Tuesday:

1) Roxette. "Listen to Your Heart. Roxette. 1989.

2) Pat Benatar. "Heartbreaker." 1979

3) Prince. "Little Red Corvette." 1983

4) Lady Gaga. "Bad Romance." 2009

5) Taylor Swift. "Ours." 2011

6) Steve Perry. "Oh Sherrie." 1984

7) Todd Rundgren. (pict. top) "Bang on the Drum All Day." 1983

8) Alannah Myles. "Black Velvet." 1989.

9) Bruno Mars. (pict,. center)"When I Was Your Man. 2013.

10)  Cyndi Lauper. (pict. bottom) "Time After Time." 1984

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Top Ten Comic Strips from Sunday, Feb. 8th edition of "Herald-Journal" in Spartanburg, SC: We Love Bizarro

Greetings to our beloved blog readers in Latvia, Ireland and Mexico.

What do Marvin the Martian, Lily Tomlin and U.S. Olympic skier Bode Miller have in common? Well, they each relate to three of the comic strips than we rank in our top ten of strips that appear in the Sunday edition of "The Herald-Journal" in Spartanburg, SC, not to be confused with newspapers with same or similar names in Durham, NC, and Huntington, WVa.!

Marvin the Martian is our ode "Bizarro" in which aliens present a cat to their leader and promise he will make for some nifty Youtube videos. Aliensand UFOs  were also featured in "Ziggy," a strip not carried by the "HJ."

Second place goes to "Doonesbury" which takes in an office. We thought it was somewhere like a call center which made us think of Lily Tomlin though when she did these comedy skits for "Laugh-In" circa 1968, they probably didn't have call centers.

Third place went to "Dustin," where the title characters decide to go skiing over the title character's mother's strong objections. Perhaps, they headed to Telluride, Colorado, or Park City, Utah...........

Here is our top ten:

1) Bizarro

2) Doonesbury

3) Dustin

4) Get Fuzzy

5) Garfield

6) Dilbert

7) Close to Home

8) Snuffy Smith

9) Gasoline Alley

10) For Better or For Worse.....

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Our Top Ten Comics from Feb. 1st Roanoke Times: Escape from the Snow

Greetings to our blog readers in the Czech Republic, Lithuania and South Africa.........we expect the bottom picture of pigs swimming in The Bahamas may cause us fewer hits today in Iran and Pakistan, but hopefully, those folks will rejoin us tomorrow!

We are using the top image of a snowman in Maryland for "Speed Bump," our weekly winner in which Mrs. Snowman getting mad at her husband for fetching her arm (made of a stick) to Rin Tin Tin (a dog).

Second place goes to "Garfield," the highest ranking for the comic strip in our survey (over a three and a half year period), as Garfield, Odie and John are suffering from 'cabin fever' (middle image, a cabin in Vermont) and the tension causes the family cat to agitate his owner in a profound way.

Lastly, we salute "Jump Start" by Robb Thompson for a fourth place finish, the highest ever for the strip, as Clarence, one of the title characters is enjoying a vacation in a sunny place (yes, this is the reason for the pigs in the Bahamas) while it snowing back home, as it is in cities like Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, within the last few days.

Here is our survey:

1) Speed Bump

2) Garfield

3) Doonesbury

4) Jump Start

5) Get Fuzzy

6) Agnes

7) Zits

8) Pearls Before Swine

9) Dilbert

10) Funky Winkerbean

For this week's survey, go to our sister blog at "The Daily Vampire"

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Our Favorite Comic Strips from the Sunday, Feb. 1st "Washington Post:" Love WuMo's Pink Panther Strip

Greetings to our blog readers in Israel, Taiwan and Turkey..........

Welcome to another edition of "The Daily Vampire".......oh #$%&, that's our other blog!

We go back to Feb. 1st for our Sunday comic strips survey of comics in the Sunday "Washington Post," for this week's survey go to "The Daily Vampire:"

For last week's comics, we really, really liked "Brewster Rockit: Space Guy," which featured a great gag about the title hero going back in time to fix up his mistake of not putting enough milk into his Captain Crunch cereal (pict. top).

"The Argyle Sweater" got third place for its look at non-endorsements by various cartoon characters, including skinny jeans by Fat Albert (voiced by Bill Cosby, we've been hearing his name a lot lately) and large bra by Olive Oyl, Popeye's love interest (pict. center).

The always hilarious Danish import "WuMo" came in fifth with a strip about the Pink Panther (pict. bottom)  taking it easy in the jungles of Tanzania as his fellow felines look on in wonder.

"Baldo," a Hispanic-centered comic strip which also appears in the "Miami Herald" features Baldo's dad listening in on what his son is listening to as he is doing homework. His dad makes a rude discovery (Bruno Mars, perhaps?!)......the strip came in eighth.

We also loved "Foxtrot," which finished fourth, as a father learns that when he son hears the word football, he thinks futbol, as in the type played by Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney as opposed to the type played by Peyton Manning, on Super Bowl Sunday, no less....

Here is our  top ten:

1) Brewster Rockit: Space Guy

2) Lio

3) The Argyle Sweater

4) Foxtrot

5) WuMo

6) Speed Bump

7) Pearls Before Swine

8) Baldo

 9) Reply All

10) Sherman's Lagoon


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Ten MoviesPlusMovies: We Hope These (Somewhat) Work

Greetings once again! We are coming to you today live from the main public library in Denver, Colo. (ok, not really where we are at!). Last week, on Twitter, we saw that hashtag MoviePlusMovie was trending and after a brief bout of confusion, we came up with tons and tons of idea. So, we said, to heck with Twitter, let's post them on our two blogs!

The poster above are for: 1) "The Darn Cat!" (the original Disney movie with the late Dean Jones who is still alive, our apologies to Mr. Jones if he stumbles onto this blog); 2) Blacula, a '70s Dracula ripoff, which is every bit as amusing as the Turkish film "Drakula in Istanbul" that was made in the '50s; and "The Gods Must Be Crazy," a great South African cult comedy that came out in the mid-1980s.

Here is our list:

1) That Darn Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

2) Blacula: Dead and Loving It

3) The Gods Must Be Stir Crazy

4) An American Psycho in Paris

5) All is Lost in Space

6) High Anxiety Society

7) The History of the War of the Roses, Part One (yes, that makes three Mel Brooks films we have referenced)

8) There Will Be Buckets of Blood

9) No Country for Grumpy Old Men

10) Alice in Wonderland Doesn't Live Here Any More (our apologies to Martin Scorsese)